Holiday Shop


WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Jacob: Complete Music for Viola & Orchestra / Callus, Bell, BBC Concert Orchestra

Jacob / Callus / Bbcco / Bell
Release Date: 07/12/2011 
Label:  Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog #: 7258   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gordon Jacob
Performer:  Helen Callus
Conductor:  Stephen Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $25.98
CD:  $21.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews



JACOB Viola Concerto No. 1. Concert Piece for Viola and Orchestra. 3 Pieces for Viola and Orchestra. Viola Concerto No. 2. Passacaglia Stereophonica Helen Callus (vla); Stephen Bell, cond.; BBC Concert O DUTTON CDLX 7258 (73: 36)


Here is yet another invaluable entry in Dutton’s unending series of indispensable releases devoted to first recordings of important but neglected 20th-century English music, giving us all three (the fourth orchestrated by Graham Parlett) of the works Read more for viola and orchestra by the prolific and long-lived Gordon Jacob (1895–1984).


Both as a composer and educator (42 years at his alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music), Jacob was a substantial and influential presence in his country’s musical life. A student of Stanford and Vaughan Williams, Jacob was a key figure in amalgamating the earlier nationalistically pastoral idiom of Vaughan Williams, Holst, and Scott with the later more urbane and cosmopolitan manner of Walton and Bliss. All four of these concertante works are typically very accessible and well crafted.


The gorgeous First Viola Concerto of 1925—the earliest piece here—has digested, in its rhapsodically rich single-movement sweep, many elements absorbed from Vaughan Williams (whose own viola masterpiece, Flos Campi, was a product of the same year, one of several works inspired by the legendary violist Lionel Tertis) into a more self-consciously refined yet malleable neoclassicism. With the cadenza embedded between two outer, somewhat epic movements, this work inhabits the same elevated level of subtlety and inspiration of the later Walton concerto for this often underappreciated instrument.


More than a half-century later (1979), Jacob was commissioned to write a second viola concerto as a test piece for the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. With only string accompaniment, this is a lyrically more subdued work in a slow-fast-slow-fast format. Though the writing for the soloist has a deliberately virtuosic character, the music as a whole partakes of the somewhat more detached and impersonal manner that overtook Jacob’s work in his later years.


Just two years before, in 1977, Jacob had written a concerto-like work for the brilliant John White, but because of its mercurially episodic nature the composer chose to call it a Concert Piece for viola and orchestra. A kind of modified theme-and-variations, this quite varied, even dramatic piece is more gripping and enthralling than the later second concerto.


Also included here is an adept orchestration by Graham Parlett of a 1930 chamber work, Three Pieces for viola and piano, intended for the same Tertis pupil, Bernard Shore, who had premiered the first viola concerto a few years before. Two mournfully songful movements (Elegy and Ostinato)—Jacob was never at a loss for a good tune—are followed by a delightfully spiky and energetic Scherzo


In all four works Helen Callus shows herself to be one of the foremost violists of her generation. Her effortlessly expressive playing is ably abetted by the versatile BBC Concert Orchestra under Stephen Bell.


Closing the program is one of Jacob’s many incidental orchestral (or band) works, a brash and lively Passacaglia Stereophonica of 1960, written to order in this case to highlight the BBC’s early experiments with stereo broadcasts.


Among other Jacob concertos still awaiting first recordings are two for piano, one each for violin and cello, and the second of the two oboe concertos. There are also two unnumbered symphonies—a Sinfonia Breve and a Symphony for Strings—plus a gaggle of suites and divertimentos. Meanwhile, no one with the least bit of interested in English music can afford to pass up this disc.


FANFARE: Paul A. Snook
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Viola no 1 in C minor by Gordon Jacob
Performer:  Helen Callus (Viola)
Conductor:  Stephen Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925/1976 
2.
Concert Piece for Viola and Orchestra by Gordon Jacob
Performer:  Helen Callus (Viola)
Conductor:  Stephen Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977 
3.
Pieces (3) for Viola and Orchestra by Gordon Jacob
Performer:  Helen Callus (Viola)
Conductor:  Stephen Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930 
4.
Concerto for Viola no 2 by Gordon Jacob
Performer:  Helen Callus (Viola)
Conductor:  Stephen Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979 
5.
Passacaglia Stereophonica by Gordon Jacob
Performer:  Helen Callus (Viola)
Conductor:  Stephen Bell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In